2014-08-06T231426Z_1_LYNXMPEA75102_RTROPTP_2_AFRICA-SUMMIT

Obama to sign $16.3 billion veterans spending bill

U.S. President Obama holds a news conference at the conclusion of the the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the State Department in WashingtonPresident Barack Obama will travel to a military facility outside Washington on Thursday to sign a $16.3 billion plan to ease health care delays at Veterans Affairs facilities as he seeks to restore confidence in an agency tarnished by the problem. The legislation, passed just before Congress left for summer recess, is intended to clear months-long wait lists for healthcare appointments at VA hospitals and clinics. News that the agency was covering up the delays led to the ouster of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in May. The measure contains $10 billion in new emergency spending and allows veterans to use private doctors at the department’s expense if they cannot get an appointment in less than 30 days. A senior administration official said new leadership at the VA has accelerated veterans’ access to care but acknowledged that more work needs to be done.

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